TAYLORSVILLE — Making the state playoffs is something Joel Burton's Bountiful girls basketball team has done time and again through the years. Advancing past the quarterfinal round, however, has proven a different story.
For that reason, the Braves' 66-55 win over Mountain View on Wednesday was particularly sweet for Burton and his team. That the victory was over the Bruins made it perhaps even sweeter.
“There were two things we tried to use as motivation, with getting to the semifinals as (the) number one (thing)", Burton said. "And then the second one was we hadn’t beaten Mountain View in the playoffs. So we wanted to take care of both of those tonight and it feels awful good that we got a couple of monkeys off our back there.”
Kennedy Redding again led the way for the Braves, scoring a team-high 24 points while pulling down 13 rebounds and blocking six shots. But Redding's typically big numbers aside, it was a collective team effort that pushed the Braves into the semifinals.
A big contributor from that collective effort was the play of sophomore guard Jaimee Stahle, who scored 20 points while doing perhaps her best work in the second half.
“To have her step up and rise to the occasion — I think honestly she gets excited about these kinds of moments and it fits right into what she likes to do,” Burton said of Stahle's effort on Wednesday.
Bountiful led throughout but weren't able to put away a stingy and hot-shooting Mountain View team until late. Tahlia White led the way for the Bruins, scoring a game-high 25 points while Jalissa Briggs added 16.
Clutch foul shooting down the stretch finally earned Bountiful enough breathing room to walk away with the win. Leading the way from the stripe was Stahle, who hit on all eight of her free throws and Redding, who made 10 of her 13 attempts.
As a team from the foul line, Bountiful hit 23 of 27 attempts for the game, good for a sterling 85 percentage.
“Free-throw shooting is something we’ve done well all year,” Burton said. “We’ve had several games that we’ve been just money from the line.”
With the win, Bountiful advances to play Salem Hills in the semifinals on Friday.